One thought on “It’s not poison sumac, but don’t eat the leaves!”

  1. puffin Hi Nancy, thanks for writing. That’s not poison sumac, it’s a black cherry, Prunus cherry fruit The large bunches of small white flowers are a good clue. When the fruit matures later in the season, it will look like this photo. The dark, rough, flaky bark is a good identifier, as well.

    Prunus serotina is native to North America, but has been introduced to other parts of the world, where it can be invasive. The genus Prunus includes plums, cherries, apricots and other similar fruits. Like most of the other species in this large genus (400+ species), black cherry produces compounds in the leaves and seeds/pits that can release cyanide under certain conditions. So even though the fruit is safe to eat, and is a major source of food for wildlife, livestock should not eat black cherry leaves. Tom

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